Should we just lie down and die? Should we allow deep character assassination? Should we always be the sheepish among the faiths? Should we just be emotionally and physically bulldozed? Yes and no. How should we conflict?
“Without a belief in a sovereign God, you really have no basis for healthy conflict. (1 Chron. 29:11-12, Psalm 115:3)”
Understand that you will be in conflict (John 16:33). God rages best on our behalf (Rom. 12:9-21). He is in control of all things (Job 12:10). He turns bad to good in ways we cannot realize (Rom. 8:28, Gen. 50:20).
With these foundational truths, here are some ways to approach conflict:
- Be unassuming – Our mind has a natural way of filling in the blanks, but sometimes these blank fillers are based of assumptions. Granted they may well be true and right assumptions, you will never be able to have open dialogue surrounding even the truest of assumptions because at anytime the person could simply claim that you are off base and misunderstanding. Most especially with a passive aggressive person.
- Be patient – Don’t rush to conflict, and don’t rush to fix what you think is conflict. Let conflict develop and emerge. Don’t overreact when the conflict emerges. Your temptation to overreact when what you thought was true actually manifests itself will be very strong. Stay even keeled while you pray through the potentially rising conflict.
- Be confrontational – This is the piece most people struggle with, but it is critical, once you’ve trusted in the truths of God, been unassuming, and patiently prayed to allow conflict to emerge, you must stand and speak. Don’t cower here. Stick to the facts! Remember, arguing speculation will never last. It isn’t your job to change other people, but it is your job to communicate factually and lovingly.
- Be forgiving – Listen, some people are just not going to like you, and others are simply going to hate you. That’s life. You are going to have to learn to forgive people even when hate and conflict remain. Forgiveness will eat you up from the inside out, and disfigure other more healthy and loving relationships.
The linchpin of healthy conflict is understanding and believing that there is no one that can love, care for, appreciate, and look out for you like Jesus. Without this understanding, we will invariably seek this in others and be devastated when they are unable or unwilling to meet those needs and standards.
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19